Whately takes steps to treat manganese in water

  • A 500,000 gallon gravity fed water tank used by the Whately Water Department to deliver water to customers in the town. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/1/2016 9:16:26 PM

WHATELY — Town water could be safer to drink soon after the installation of a new manganese removal filtration system.

Wayne Hutkoski, town water superintendent, explained that currently, manganese in the water is slightly over the state limit, which has prompted officials to look into a pilot system overseen by the state.

“Right now for the pilot program, it’s one reaction chamber and one filter,” Hutkoski said, adding that the pilot system has already been installed. “If this one works, the (final system) will have six filters and two reaction chambers.”

If the pilot program works, Hutkoski said the town will purchase a full filtration system through the same company. He also said the town is waiting on paperwork and approval by the state to begin the study. The state also will determine how long the study will be.

During a special meeting held last month, residents unanimously passed a two-thirds vote to appropriate $410,000 for the purchase of the system.

The vote authorized a loan with the Mass. Clean Water Trust. Funds for the project will be paid for through the enterprise fund.

“The beauty of this is that there’s always the chance of loan forgiveness by the MassDEP,” said Selectman Jonathan Edwards, during the town meeting. “It won’t be forgiven right away, but over time, it could be forgiven.”

Although the system won’t necessarily cost the total amount that was appropriated, Hutkoski said it’s better to err on the safe side and appropriate too much money and not use it, than too little and have to ask for more.

The water superintendent added that customers won’t notice a difference in water quality throughout the transition.

According to an info sheet issued by the MassDEP, “manganese is a common naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil, groundwater and surface water.”

“You want some in there,” Hutkoski continued, adding that when manganese reacts to chlorine, it turns water brown.

The mineral is beneficial because it improves metabolism, immune system function, digestion, and bone strength, among other functions; however, in high concentrations, it can be dangerous and, according to the sheet, “produce neurological effects.”

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo

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